ECC Gives Candidates ‘Five Days’ to Respond to Fraud Charges
KABUL, Oct 16 – The Electoral Complaints Commission has apparently extended the period candidates are permitted to respond to complaints the ECC has sustained against them from three to five days.
The ECC told a news conference Saturday that “in the interests of justice the ECC is giving the candidates in question personal notice of the charges agains t them and is granting them five days from the time they are notified to defend themselves against the allegations.”
The Independent Election Commission has supplied the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) with the names of 136 candidates, among them 25 parliamentary incumbents and some high government officials, it alleges have committed fraud, the ECC said. National security institutions have also supplied the names of 39 in whose favour fake voter registration cards were allegedly used (or intended to be used) in the Wolesi Jirga elections.
Any candidate concerned may obtain a response form from the ECC or any Provincial Electoral Complaints Commission (PECC) office, complete it and hand it in at the ECC/PECC. The ECC will then decide the cases, taking into consideration any representations received.
ECC procedures say that respondents should be given an opportunity to respond to complaints but the commission has so far not spelled out what this process was. Chapter Six of the ECC’s regulations say that “where the ECC or a PECC considers a complaint to have substance, the ECC or the PECC concerned shall use its best efforts to notify the subject of the complaint and provide an opportunity to respond.” Responses, paragraph 6.2 of the regulations says, “must be filed in writing within three days of such notification.”
The ECC said earlier this week that it had annulled all the votes cast in the province of Herat for the brother of Herat’s mayor, Muhammad Salim Taraki, and filed a formal complaint against the mayor with the attorney general.
Until Saturday afternoon, the ECC had received total 4,567 complaints, and out of that 4,274 complaints have been triaged (54% A type, 32% B and 14% C). So far, the ECC has adjudicated and made decisions regarding 775 A type complaints, and will upload the decisions made by this commission to its website in the days.
The ECC has annulled around 100 polling centers so far. Also the ECC said it had received many complaints against the IEC staff regarding their operation for the 2010 Wolesi Jirga election; their cases will be adjudicated soon by the ECC.